Staring into this small mirror, fixated on the strand of hair, I meticulously pluck out the short silver strand, not out of malice or disdain, if anything, in resignation. As much as I like popping pimples, I have always liked plucking gray hairs. I would do it for my mom when she was younger. It always felt like a special game I alone knew how to enjoy, foraging through, getting a firm grip, skillfully separating the offending white strand and then swiftly plucking it out. I would lay them out proudly in her waiting palm and she would inspect them.
It has been at least two decades; my mom is here, but any attempt at my little game now would leave her bald as an egg. Now I am staring hard at this short strand of grey hair stuck on my dusty mirror and wondering if I should frame this somehow. It is not the first strand I have ever plucked but this one is unusually bright, catching the sunlight and glinting in the mirror.
I should be hurrying to work since I am with the office key, but I am distracted by this beautiful thing and its meaning. Then my phone vibrates. It’s a notification from My Calendar informing me that my fertility window is open. I have to smile. If more dazzling strands of gray hair keep popping up, I will be out of eggs soon enough and will very well need to uninstall this doting app.
I do not know if I will ever have children and it does not bother me much, save for my mother’s aspirations. I try not to concern myself with things I cannot fix. But a few nights ago my mom told me of someone who told her to “face the problem in her house”.
You see, I don’t fight or steal. I have never failed in school, been arraigned for criminal activity, leaked a sex tape online or gotten pregnant out of wedlock…yet. I have always tried to be upright, so I am here really struggling to find all the ways I might have earned this level of disapproval to the point of being referred to as “a problem”; a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. Yes, I really did check the meaning in a dictionary. I am hoping that you can understand my confusion as to how my personal life or the lack there of is now a source of embarrassment to my parents, because I didn’t see that coming. Then again, I don’t seem to see or understand a lot these days.
So today, for no real fault of mine, and not for lack of trying, I am “the problem” in my parent’s house, because at 31, I’m not married. In the past year since I have been home, I have grown a thick skin and a quick tongue for the imprudent talk some relatives bring. But I still bridle my tongue so I don’t upset my parents.
In earnest, I am not angry or hurt by this unwarranted opinion of me by people with their equally mediocre lives. I am indifferent, no, mildly bewildered and really craving a glazed doughnut.
My phone is vibrating again. It must be my colleagues. I should go.
Photo credit: youbeauty.com